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Joseph, E.D. (1959). An Unusual Fantasy in a Twin with an Inquiry Into the Nature of Fantasy. Psychoanal Q., 28:189-206.

(1959). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 28:189-206

An Unusual Fantasy in a Twin with an Inquiry Into the Nature of Fantasy

Edward D. Joseph, M.D.

This paper has a twofold purpose. It presents a fantasy not uncommonly encountered in a certain type of 'borderline' patient who shows pronounced feminine identifications and demonstrates how such a fantasy throws light upon the ego structure of the patient. Secondly, it inquires briefly into the nature of fantasy in general.

Toward the end of the second year of analysis, a thirty-three-year-old man haltingly reported a fantasy. 'When a man has intercourse with a woman, he puts his penis in and then the danger comes. That's why a woman bleeds—because she holds the bleeding stump. She clamps down on it and nips it off and then holds the penis in her until her period, when she bleeds. The bleeding is from her and from the bloody stump—in that way she also loses it so that she doesn't have it anyway. That's why I felt so brave when I first put my penis into that black hole, but I want to get out as quickly as possible so nothing happens to me.'

Verbalizations such as this from a patient have long been called fantasies. However, the actual definition of fantasy is unclear in psychoanalytic literature; it is one of the many terms loosely used for a wide range of phenomena. In nonanalytic usage, Funk and Wagnalls New Standard Dictionary (1952) provides a definition that is adequate even if not completely acceptable in analytic thinking.

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